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Dinuka Ariyarathna (Sri Lanka)

JCU medical student reflects on hospital placement during COVID-19 pandemic

James Cook University (JCU) international medical student Dinuka Ariyarathna has been one of many JCU students delivering essential health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dinuka travelled from Sri Lanka to attend university in Australia and is completing his final year of a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree at JCU. For the past six months Dinuka has been completing an extended rural placement at the Innisfail Hospital in Far North Queensland.

“Studying medicine at JCU prepared me well to manage working during this pandemic,” he said.

“During medical school we attended tutorials and workshops in global health and dealing with pandemic scenarios, and here I am in 2020 working during the COVID-19 pandemic and actually using the knowledge JCU medical school has provided.”

Dinuka said the past few months have provided many challenges and learning experiences, and the clinical supervision at Innisfail Hospital has increased his confidence in making medical decisions.

“Experiencing medical practice at Innisfail has allowed me to learn a lot about tropical, rural and remote medicine, and has increased my clinical reasoning skills and clinical knowledge due to wide range of medical cases I see during a day."

Dinuka Ariyarathna at the Innisfail Hospital.

Image: JCU Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery student Dinuka Ariyarathna completed a placement at the Innisfail Hospital in Far North Queensland during the COVID-19 pandemic.

JCU’s Director of GP training Associate Professor Peta- Ann Teague said many medical students have been assisting in a variety of healthcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Senior healthcare students are smart and well educated, and are a logical and available resource for primary care at this time,” she said.

Dinuka says he is grateful for the support he has received from JCU over recent months.

“JCU has done a tremendous job providing its medical students, both domestic and international, with adequate safety and support during these uncertain times. JCU provided international students with financial and psychological support and I believe JCU is a university that truly illustrated the fact it cares about international students welfare. I thank JCU for not neglecting us in such a crucial time such as this.”

Upon completion of his medical degree at JCU, Dinuka plans on pursuing a career in paediatrics or emergency medicine with a focus on underserved populations.

“We will all get through this pandemic together, and it's our responsibility as individuals to collectively contribute to the health and safety of our communities.”

Further information about the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery program at JCU.